The British Franchise Association (BFA) is the only voluntary accreditation body for franchising in the UK.
The British Franchise Association (BFA) is the only voluntary accreditation body for franchising in the UK. Check out smallbusiness.co.ukÂ’s guide to what services the BFA offers and how it can help you get your franchise off to a flying start.
1. Why franchising
For those interested in opening a franchise but eager to learn more, the British Franchise Association (BFA) runs regular seminars addressing issues ranging from assessing opportunities through to understanding the franchise agreement and seeking legal advice. These seminars cost around Â£175 and are run throughout the year at various locations.Click here for further details. A DVD entitled Introduction to Franchising covering similar topics is also available from the BFA at a cost of Â£9.95.
2. Choosing a franchise
The BFA currently has around 100 full and 60 associate members, making the list of franchise opportunities available immense. The association can help you narrow down the options, however, offering snippets of advice on its website and producing a franchisee’s guide, which contains contact and investment details as well as a list of useful advisers. This guide is available from the BFA bookshop and will set you back around Â£29. A list of approved advisers can also be found on the association’s website, at http://www.british-franchise.org.
3. Protecting your interests
Largely unregulated, the UK franchising industry has been hindered by a poor reputation in the past, but much has changed in recent years. Whether full or associate, BFA members are obliged to meet certain standards. The franchise opportunities they provide must be viable Â– i.e. operate in a proven market place Â–, franchisable and must deal with franchisees in an ethical manner. They are also required to disclose any information that may effect the franchise agreements they sign immediately.
4. Case studies
If you are thinking of buying a franchise it is always useful to hear from those that have been there and done it already. A series of case studies can be found in the Franchise Spotlight section of smallbusiness.co.uk, and further examples can be found on the BFA website by looking at its website . Over 50 case studies, covering everything from running your own sign-writing business to operating a hairdressing salon, can be found on this site.
Finally, should things go wrong, the BFA offers independent arbitration and mediation services, which can be used to resolve disputes between the franchisee and the franchisor. Arbitration is the more formal (almost legislative) procedure, during which the arbiter investigates the cases and eventually comes to a judgement that is binding to both parties. Mediation is more informal (not to mention quicker and cheaper) and aims to help the two parties negotiate their way to some form of non-binding agreement.